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EU urges more action on cyberattacks

A laptop displays a message after being infected by a ransomware as part of a worldwide cyberattack on June 27, 2017 in Geldrop. The unprecedented global ransomware cyberattack has hit more than 200,000 victims in more than 150 countries, Europol executive director Rob Wainwright said May 14, 2017. Britain’s state-run National Health Service was affected by the attack. / AFP PHOTO / ANP / Rob Engelaar / Netherlands OUT

The EU must boost its defences against cyberattacks, which have fallen behind the modern world’s reliance on the internet and mobile devices, the bloc’s security chief warned Thursday.

Brussels will give 10.8 million euros ($12 million) to 14 EU countries to boost their cyber response teams following this week’s massive global cyberattack, Security Commissioner Julian King said.

“We’re living through an attack right now. That attack, the recent WannaCry attack and other recent attacks serve graphically to illustrate that the cyber threats we face are growing very seriously” King told reporters.

“Our current dependence on the internet and connected devices and technology is at the moment currently greater than our ability to protect ourselves, and we need to do something about that,” King said.

The latest series of cyberattacks began in Ukraine on Tuesday, hitting government and corporate computer systems across the world as the so-called Petya virus spread to western Europe and across the Atlantic.

The British commissioner to the European Union said that cyberattacks were becoming “more strategic because they endanger critical infrastructure and indeed our democratic processes.”

In addition the extra funding for national cyber response centres, he said there should also be extra support for the EU police agency Europol’s cybercrime department.

Europol said Wednesday that the latest cyberattacks were similar to last month’s WannaCry ransomware havoc but “more sophisticated”.

NATO warned on Wednesday that cyberattacks could potentially trigger the 29-nation military alliance’s mutual defence guarantee, while making a similar call to strengthen cyber defences.

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